Matthew Boesler of Benzinger Radio had the opportunity this past week to speak with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson on his decision to run for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential election. They talked about some of Governor Johnson's key platforms, such as his plans for fixing the economy and making the country's health care system sustainable. He also decided to throw in some discussion of Dodd-Frank and campaign finance for good measure. Here is what Governor Johnson had to say.
On why he's running for president:
"I find myself outraged over the fact that we are bankrupt. I think the biggest issue facing this country right now is that we are on the verge of a financial collapse. It's going to be the bond market that collapses, because there is no paying $14 trillion in debt given the $1.65 trillion deficit, this year, last year, the year before, and the years going forward. We need to balance the budget, and I'm proposing a balanced budget for the year 2013."
"When it comes to jobs in this country, I am proposing eliminating the federal corporate income tax, believing that would reestablish this country as the only place to start up, grow, and nurture a business."
"It's a double tax. We as individuals own the corporations. When that money gets distributed to you and I, that's when that money gets taxed."
"I would also be advocating eliminating the income tax, eliminating the IRS, and replacing that with a fair tax, which by all accounts free-market economists believe a fair tax would be just that, a fair tax. Everyone would pay their fair share and it would absolutely promote savings by doing that."
"The consumption tax that's being proposed is approximately 20% as a value-added tax that would replace all other taxes--with the exception of property tax--and that would get applied to everything it is that we purchase. By doing that, it would be fair because everybody would pay their share of that. There is also a component built in to the fair tax proposal that would exclude you from paying that tax if you didn't have a certain threshold level of income. For the most part, everyone would pay this tax and it would very much promote savings because that would be the difference between what you earned and consumption."
"I would be proposing cutting spending by 43%, that being the amount of money that we are currently printing and borrowing. I would start off by talking about Medicaid, Medicare, and military spending, those being really the big three."
"Social Security would really be reforming Social Security; it wouldn't be about cutting Social Security. Without raising taxes, we could make Social Security solvent into the future by raising the retirement age, having a means testing--there being all sorts of options available in the means testing area--and then changing the escalator built into Social Security from the wage index to the inflation rate, which in and of itself would make Social Security solvent into the future."
On health care:
"For Medicare and Medicaid, the federal government should block-grant the states a fixed amount of money--43% less than what we're currently spending--to give health care to the poor and those over 65 to the state. Fifty laboratories of best practice, fifty laboratories of doing things in a better way. I am believing that there would be best practices. We're all very competitive; we would emulate the best practices. There would be failure. We would do everything we could to avoid the failure."
"The reform to health care needs to be free-market reform. I think that health care in this country is as far removed from the free market as it possibly could be."
"Why should there even be insurance in a health care system that was absolutely free-market driven? I would argue that 40% plus of health care right now is bureaucratic, that it doesn't need to exist. I would suggest that within health care, all sorts of tests and procedures are being mandated from a liability standpoint, not from a cost-benefit standpoint. Really, you're talking about fundamental change in how we purchase insurance, which would be you and I going out and shopping for what it is that we need and want, coupled with the marketplace delivering what we need and want in more cost-effective ways."
"I would hope [to see the health insurance industry marginalized]. The notion that we have insurance to cover ourselves for ongoing medical coverage flies in the face of cost effectiveness. It would be analogous to having grocery insurance. We don't buy grocery insurance because, number one, why would anyone sell us grocery insurance? If we had it, you would go to the grocery store and there wouldn't even be prices advertised because you and I wouldn't pay for groceries--grocery insurance would. Why would we buy ground round when we could by filets, because we don't pay for it, grocery insurance does?"
Read the rest of the interview here
The audio version of the interview can be found here